MANILA - Detained Sen. Leila de Lima on Tuesday hit back at President Rodrigo Duterte, who mocked her for being in detention over her alleged involvement in the proliferation of illegal drugs in the national penitentiary.
In a statement, De Lima said Duterte should focus on doing his job as President amid the rising COVID-19 infections and death toll in the country instead of attacking members of the opposition.
"Mr. President, maawa ka naman sa taumbayan. Namamatay na mga mahal nila sa buhay ako pa rin ang problema mo?" De Lima said.
(Mr. President, have pity on the people. Their loved ones are dying and yet you're problem is still about me?)
"Magtrabaho ka na lang Duterte. Kung nagtrabaho ka lang sana hindi tayo umabot sa ganito. Huwag ka na lang puro ngawngaw," she said.
(Just work, Duterte. If you only worked, we would not have reached this point. Stop yapping.)
De Lima also chided Duterte for allegedly going on "photoshoots" that showed him playing golf while millions of Filipinos are struggling with the pandemic.
"Habang nasa kung saang lupalop siya at nagpapa-photoshoot habang nagmemeryenda, nagja-jogging, naggo-golf at kung anu-ano pang pampalipas oras, araw-araw, daan-daan ang binabawian ng buhay at nauulila—ina, ama, kapatid, kaibigan, kamag-anak, katrabaho, mga mahal sa buhay," she said.
In a pre-recorded speech aired on Monday, Duterte said De Lima deserved to "endure prison while we enjoy life."
Duterte verbally attacked De Lima after the senator called out the President for his seeming lack of presence and control over curbing the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
The opposition senator has been detained in the Philippine National Police's headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City since February 2017 after she was accused of getting kickbacks from drug lords in the New Bilibid Prison to fund her senatorial bid in 2016.
De Lima has repeatedly denied the allegations, saying the Duterte administration has been using these charges to persecute her for being a vocal critic of the human rights abuses observed during the President's war on drugs.
In February, a Muntinlupa court junked one of the 3 drug-related cases filed against De Lima.